Full-Scale Evaluation of Relatively Thin Airfield Pavements

A full-scale airfield pavement test section was constructed and trafficked by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) to evaluate the performance of relatively thin airfield pavement structures. The test section consisted of four test items that included three asphalt pavement thicknesses and two different aggregate base courses. The test items were subjected to simulated aircraft traffic to evaluate their response and performance to realistic aircraft loads. Rutting behavior, instrumentation response, and falling weight deflectometer response were monitored at selected traffic intervals. It was found that the performance of the airfield pavement sections were most sensitive to aggregate base course properties, where a 50% reduction in base course strength resulted in a 99% reduction in allowable passes. The data suggested that when sufficient asphalt thickness is not provided, the failure mechanism shifted from subgrade failure to base course failure, particularly at higher subgrade CBR values. In addition, the number of aircraft passes sustained was less than that predicted by current Department of Defense (DOD) methods that include assumptions of a high-quality aggregate base and a minimum asphalt concrete thickness. The results of this study were used to extend existing DOD pavement design and evaluation techniques to include the evaluation of airfield pavement sections that do not meet the current criteria for aggregate base quality and minimum asphalt concrete surface thickness. These performance data were used to develop a new base failure design curve using existing stress-based design criteria.


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  • Accession Number: 01747482
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jul 31 2020 3:05PM